Four local law enforcement officers have been honored for their life-saving actions the afternoon of July 1, 2012.
Sgt. Rod Trunzo and Trooper Eric Maikkula with the Minnesota State Patrol, and Isanti County deputies Sean Connolly and Dave Matchinsky were honored at the Minnesota State Patrol annual awards ceremony April 29.
Trunzo, of Gilbert, and Maikkula, of Cambridge, were presented with life saving awards. Connolly and Matchinksy were presented with Minnesota State Patrol certificates of commendation. The officers were nominated by Lt. Craig Isaacson and Sgt. Steve Hanson.
“It was a very impressive banquet and I’m grateful to have been a part of it,” Isanti County Chief Deputy Chris Caulk said. “It is very humbling to see how supportive the Minnesota State Patrol is of their organization and the local organizations. They have really fostered relationships with local police, firefighters, emergency responders and civilians.”
The July 1 incident involved the officers responding to a vehicle that went off the road on Highway 65 north of Cambridge. A male victim had suffered a heart attack and had driven off the road and into the swamp. They administered CPR and used an AED to save the man’s life.
Caulk said the officers appreciate the fact the award recipients are selected by their peers.
“These awards involve the peers recognizing the good things their other peers are doing and make nominations,” Caulk said. “I was honored to go and support my fellow state patrol officers and deputies.”
Caulk said he was at Sandquist Family Park in Cambridge on July 1 when he saw a helicopter fly overhead and realized something serious must be happening.
“Abut an hour later, I get a call explaining what happened and was asked to come into the office so the officers could go home and shower because there were muddy up to their waist after going into the swamp,” Caulk said. “These awards really make me happy. It just goes to show we have dedicated officers working for us. There wasn’t any hesitation by any of them to jump into the swampy waters and save this man’s life. I think that’s just human nature. Whether you are a cop or a civilian, if you see someone in trouble, you will do whatever you can to help them, forgetting about your own safety.”
Detailed events of July 1, 2012
Trunzo, Maikkula, Connolly and Matchinsky responded to a reported vehicle off the road on Highway 65 north of Cambridge. Maikkula arrived first and observed a vehicle with a boat and trailer attached to it well off the roadway in the waist deep water and mud of a swamp.
Maikkula proceeded through the swamp to the vehicle where a good samaritan was attempting to hold an open airway on the driver. He took over for that person as Trunzo and Connolly arrived on scene. Connolly inserted an airway and they laid the driver across the front seat and began administering CPR. Trunzo prepared and administered an AED on the driver.
Matchinsky arrived on scene and immediately assisted in assembling the bag/valve mask with oxygen tank to assist with the driver’s respiration. As they continued to perform CPR, ambulance, fire and rescue personnel arrived to assist. The driver was backboarded, moved out of the vehicle, and transported through the swamp by multiple personnel from multiple agencies to ambulance personnel who then took over medical care.
The victim had suffered a major heart attack and required quadruple bypass surgery. The day after the incident he was alert, responsive and in stable condition.